Department of Physics

Research Areas and Facilities

Computational and Theoretical Physics

Computational and theoretical studies focus on structural, electronic and magnetic properties of molecules and solids. Facilities include a computer enhanced classroom and advanced computer laboratory. Equipment includes a 20-node Beowulf cluster and several workstations.

Investigators: Pavel Lukashev, Ali Tabei, and Michael Roth (Professor Emeritus)

Holographic Characterization of Surfaces

Investigations focus on using holography as a tool for characterizing surface roughness and for character recognition. The well equipped laser and optics laboratory contains several vibration isolation tables, lasers, and spectrometers.

Investigator: Dale Olson

Low Dimensional and Complex Materials

The research concerns investigation into the electronic and structural characteristics of low dimensional and complex materials. These systems exhibit exotic phases not seen in the world of everyday standard 3D systems. The main focus is to create, characterize and model systems of interest such atomic and nanoscale wires, dots, and films to deduce both fundamental properties as well as tailor them towards eventual applications in industry. Facilities include molecular beam epitaxy, scanning tunneling microscopy, Auger spectroscopy, and electron diffraction contained within two separate ultra-high vacuum systems.

Investigator: Tim Kidd

Magnetic Properties of Materials

The objective of this research is to study and elucidate the electronic and magnetic behavior of novel disordered magnetic materials. Examples of such materials are diluted magnetic semiconductors and mechanically-milled rare-earth alloys. There is special interest in the spin-glass or spin-glass-like behavior that is commonly exhibited by these disordered materials. Measurement capabilities include ac susceptibility, dc magnetization, and resistivity, in the temperature range 4-300 K.

Investigator: Paul Shand

Physics and Science Education

The physics and science education group investigates student understanding of physics concepts and related physical phenomena, and uses the insights gained to guide instruction and curriculum development. The group also provides professional development opportunities for teachers, such as the UNI PRISMS and PRISST programs. Facilities include studio physics classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art instructional technologies, video cameras for recording interviews and classroom observations, and a computer workstation for document scanning and video processing.

Investigators: Lawrence Escalada and Jeff Morgan

Optical Spectroscopy of Nanostructures

The research focuses on optical studies (Raman spectroscopy and optical emission) of novel nanostructures including molecular layers of organic semiconductors, atomic layers of graphene, topological insulators of reduced dimensions, and low-dimensional dichalcogenide materials. We are interested in the optical, vibrational, electronic, and electron-phonon interaction properties of these materials. Major facilities include Confocal Raman microscope system and multiple lasers.

Investigator: Rui He

Low-Dimensional Structures and Surfaces

The primary research concentration of Dr. Stollenwerk has centered around low dimensional condensed matter systems. He has used low dimensional structures exhibit properties that are similar to both individual atoms as well as bulk materials.  As material dimensions shrink below 10 nanometers, quantum confinement effects become noticeable in their electronic and optical properties.  At the same time low dimensional materials are highly sensitive to the presence of disorder or impurities.  The ability to tune the electrical and optical properties of these low dimensional materials by varying their shape, size, and composition have made them useful from a practical stand point in devices such as solar cells, solid state lasers, and light emitting diodes

Investigator: Andrew Stollenwerk